U.K. uncertain where Iran holds sailors

British officials do not know where Iran is holding 15 sailors and marines captured in the Persian Gulf, and requests for access to them have been denied, the Foreign Office said Sunday.

U.K. uncertain where Iran holds sailors

Iranian state television, meanwhile, said its Foreign Ministrysummoned the British ambassador in Tehran "to protest the illegal entryof British sailors into Iranian territorial waters." It gave no detailsabout the meeting.

The British Foreign Office said Ambassador Geoffrey Adams met withsenior Iranian officials and demanded the immediate release of thecaptured personnel, the Foreign Office said.

Iran's top military official, Gen. Ali Reza Afshar, said on Saturdaythe seized Britons were taken to Tehran for questioning and hadconfessed to what he called an "aggression into the Islamic Republic ofIran's waters." He did not say what would happen to them but said allwere being treated well and were in good health.

The Foreign Office said Sunday that British requests for access to the 15 Britons have been denied.

Iran has described the incident as a "blatant aggression" butBritain has repeatedly insisted the sailors were in Iraqi waters in theShatt al Arab waterway between

Iraq

" type="hidden">News | News Photos | Images | Web

" type="hidden">Iraq and Iran.

Lord Triesman, a Foreign Office under-secretary who had held talkswith Iran's ambassador on Saturday, told Sky News the issue of whetherthe sailors had strayed into Iranian waters was a technical one.

"I've been very clear throughout that the British forces do not everintentionally enter into Iranian waters," he said. "There's no reasonfor them to do so, we don't intend to do so and I think people shouldaccept there's good faith in those assertions."

"We believe there's good strong evidence that they were in Iraqiwater at the time," Triesman said. "That's a technical issue and Ithink it could be resolved as a technical issue.

"We don't (know where the military personnel are) and I wish we did," he said.

Britain and the EU have been pushing hard diplomatically to securethe sailors' release. The British Foreign Office summoned the Iranianambassador to London on Saturday, the second time such summons in twodays, and Germany, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, got itsambassador in Tehran to raised the issue with the Iranian government.

U.S. News and World Report, citing a U.S. Army report out of Iraq,said the capture of the British soldiers was not the first timeIranians have taken Western forces by surprise in the border area.

According to the news magazine, American troops working with Iraqiborder guards within Iraq were attacked by a much larger Iranianmilitary unit in September. U.S. News said no Americans were hurt inthe incident, but four Iraqi soldiers, an interpreter, and an Iraqiborder policeman remain missing.

U.S. military officials told the news magainze the Iranians may have mistakenly thought they were in Iranian territory.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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